Conceptualizing an operational framework

Figure 5.1 is a conceptualization of critical thinking attributes. Conceived as three interconnected sets of attributes, critical thinking can be described as

Table 5.1 Summary of functional attributes comprising critical thinking skills

Author(s)

Skills

Interpretation

Explanation

Analysis

Inference

Evaluation

Self-

regulation

J. Dewey (1909)

V

V

V

E. Glaser (1941)

V

V

V

V

V

J. Sternberg (1986)

V

V

V

V

V

S. Brookfield (1987)

V

V

B. Beyer (1988)

V

V

V

V

R. Ennis (1989)

V

V

V

Delphi report (1990)

V

V

V

V

V

V

J. Chaffee (1992)

V

V

V

V

R. Paul (1993)

V

V

V

V

A. Freeley (1993)

V

V

V

V

Fischer and

Scriven

(1997)

V

V

V

V

Pithers and Soden (2000)

V

V

V

A. Fisher (2001)

V

V

V

Watson and

Glaser

(2002)

V

V

V

Simpson and Courtney (2002)

V

V

V

V

P. Facione (2009)

V

V

V

V

V

V

Table 5.2 Summary of dispositions associated with critical thinking

Selected

scholar

Brookfield

(1987)

Costa

(1991)

Paul

(1993)

Ennis

(1994)

Perkins, Jay, et al. (1994)

Facione et al. (1995)

Banning

(2006)

Disposition

items:

V

V

Is clear about the intended meaning

Is systematic

V

V

V

V

V

V

Takes the total situation into account

V

V

Is analytical

V

V

V

V

V

V

Is inquisitive

V

V

V

V

V

V

Looks for alternatives

V

V

Seeks precision as the situation requires

V

V

V

Is conscious (aware)

V

V

V

Is open- minded

V

V

V

V

Is truthseeking

V

V

V

V

V

Uses one's critical thinking abilities

V

Is intellectually careful

V

V

Is

metacognitive

V

V

V

V

V

Seeks efficacy

V

Is selfconfident

V

V

V

V

Shows

maturity

V

V

a composite of certain skills, dispositions, and knowledge. Illustrative subset items associated with each theme are also identified. This is not to suggest that these items define the respective groups exclusively. Rather, teachers and practitioners should see these items as needing to be affirmed and/

Selected

scholars

Knowledge

elements

Kurfiss

(1988)

Thoma Noddings (1993) (1995)

Kimmel

(1995)

Barnett

(1997)

Pithers and Soden (2000)

Moore et al. (2003)

Halpern

(2003)

Ruggiero

(2004)

Ramsden

(2007)

Paul & Elder (2012)

Background

knowledge

V

Communicate

effectively

V

Critical

reflection

V

V

V

Cultural

knowledge

V

V

Disciplinary

knowledge

V

V

V

Ethical

competence

V

V

General

knowledge

V

V

V

V

V

V

V

V

Intellectual

development

V

V

V

V

V

Life experience

V

V

V

Political

knowledge

V

V

Reflective

awareness

V

V

V

V

or supplemented as appropriate to their specific learning and disciplinary context.

Before discussing each thematic group, we review this framework in the broader context of student learning in higher education. Described as a series of qualitatively different levels (Ramsden 1992), at its most abstract, learning is said to involve general abilities and personal qualities such as being able "to think critically" and "communicate effectively." A second level involves content-based understandings related to specific disciplines or professions. A third and final level involves categorical proficiencies—of factual information, technical skills, and problem-solving techniques. Assuming an educational objective "to analyze ideas or issues critically," as Ramsden (1992) noted, students need to acquire knowledge at each level and be able to connect knowledge at each level to the other levels. This integrative aspect to learning is important in higher education that has as its central purpose the imaginative acquisition of knowledge (Ramsden 1992, citing Whitehead). Moreover, to enable Whitehead's suggested need for creative dissent over uncritical acceptance of orthodoxy (or the modern variations of the same sentiment—the ability to look at problems from different perspectives and respond flexibly to changing circumstances), there is an evident interdependence in the component attributes and processes identified. For critical dissent, as an example, there is a clear need for some relevant knowledge, as well as self-regulation (shown in figure 5.1 as a skill) and the willingness in attitude to offer critique (a dispositional element).

An operational framework

Figure 5.1 An operational framework.

A brief elaboration of each thematic group and its relationship with the other component groups follows.

 
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